Water leak closes freeway lanes

July 6, 2009 10:20:55 AM PDT
A water main break led to several wrecks along the North Freeway this morning, and it forced TxDOT to close two lanes.[PHOTOS: Images from scene]

The problem is impacting the inbound lanes of the North Freeway at North Main, where two of the southbound lanes are closed. TxDOT says the water came from a water main break along a feeder road.

The city of Houston shut down the water after being notified of the high water on the freeway. That shutdown has affected about a dozen nearby businesses and residents.

The pressure from the steady flow of water was mounting underground and it reached a breaking point around 7pm yesterday. The water started seeping through every opening at the retaining wall at the underpass of I-45 at North Main. The constant flow of water flooded the two right hand lanes. Several drivers lost control as they unexpectedly hit the water.

"For a Monday morning for there to be water spewing at or near a freeway, of course, that is going to cause some problems," said Roberto Medina with the city of Houston.

Public works shut off the flow of the water, which created another problem.

"That ruins my coffee plans, so I guess I have to go to McDonald's for coffee and I guess if the water doesn't come back on, my kids will have a good excuse for not taking a bath," said nearby resident John Sanchez.

Most water main breaks only cause low pressure. This is a reminder of how intense a Houston summer can actually be.

"No moisture causes the ground to shift and that causes breakage," said Medina.

Right now, a leak detection team is trying to find out exactly where the break is. They hope to have it figured out soon, so they can either patch it up or dig it up to replace the line. Until they do the repairs to the leak, those two lanes will remain closed.

Watch that intersection and check our traffic map for changes in the area.

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